Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pizza Margherita, Sort Of

I just love buying ready-made pizza dough. I really love the pizza dough that Mona Lisa sells in their deli in Little Italy (SD), but Trader Joe's pizza dough comes in a close second. The reason I love to use pizza dough is because I can make it as thin or thick as I want. I personally love thin crusts with crusty edges...yummy. The traditional pizza margherita has tomato sauce, basil, fresh mozzarella and a Parmesan cheese, however since I had a pint of ricotta in the fridge I decided to go with that instead of fresh mozzarella. When making pizza, make sure you take the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before you shape it because room-temperature dough will be easier to work with.

INGREDIENTS (makes one pizza)

  • Store bough pizza dough,
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes (use San Marzano tomatoes, if possible)
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly, ground black pepper
  • Several fresh basil leaves (about 10), if they are very big you can coarsely chopped them
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and, if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Form dough into a 12-inch pizza round or rectangle to 1/2" thick or thinner. Place on a pizza peel or sheet pan.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and process until smooth.

Pour sauce over pizza and smooth to spread evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edges of the dough. Sprinkle basil leaves on top of sauce and then top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Finally, drop teaspoonfuls of ricotta then sprinkle mozzarella and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the edges are golden brown. It's so easy and so good!

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